Election Began in Phases in India, Choices in Front of Electorates

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Muscat, Oman – Much hyped 16th Lok Shabha election began in phases on April 7th in India which is the largest democracy in the world and undoubtedly the noisiest. This election has been probably the most spoken and discussed by the Indians-covering spectrum of people- the office goers (daily passengers in the train) to people gathering in tea shop (Chhai-pe-Adda), the politicians to political columnist, the rich and middle class in urban area to the poor in rural India.

Voting is a process of selecting a candidate for a post/position. Through parliamentarian election process, the people of India by franchising their votes elect their leaders. Political parties therefore try to woo voters through various modes of election campaign-public meetings, rallies, road shows, door to door campaign, using print and electronic media. Reach and popularity of electronic media has probably been another contributory factor in making this election so much discussed.

The campaigns have taken its peak momentum. Leaders of the political parties in their public speeches raise issues, make promises, points out faults of opponents, attack opposition parties which result in hate speeches. All public speeches are nowadays video recorded. Our political leaders must be cautious in their public comments, hate speeches, provocative remarks as those instigate the mass to turn violent, lead to hatred, cause disharmony in the society and in the country as a whole. Although bound by the model code of conduct, the party leaders often violet those. This election campaign has not been exception as we have witnessed FIRs registered against party leaders, arrests of party candidate, complaints by parties to Election Commission for appropriate actions. The role of the Election Commission and the Poll Panel are becoming increasingly significant during the election period.

India is at a very crucial juncture. On one hand we are left in a miserable condition on all fronts from economical, social, moral of honest government servants including Police and Army to larger issues like India’s prestige and credibility on international platform. On the other hand we have the best potential and the ingredients to make an impact in next 10 to 20 years, given the fact that our large young generation who has seen everything and is not accepting the attempt of division on the basis of cast, creed and community. They are more aware of possibilities versus what is being thrown at them by our political leaders.

Ruling out the proven corrupt and failed governance of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by the Congress party, learning lessons from previous experience of chaotic poor governance by Third Front, we are probably left with choice of the Bharatiya Janata Pary (BJP) led NDA and ideology of Aam Admi Party (AAP). Many are convinced that AAP raised very fundamental issues plaguing the political system which causes all these problems in country’s governance. They not only they lack experience and will but also lack firm leadership. Raising issues cannot be considered as job done. Implementation and carrying those forward are the real task for any political party. Moreover no other political party has probably exposed themselves so much in so short time.

BJP is marred with all the issues of existing political rot and filth. In order to aim for majority number they have brought back corrupt leaders and not shied away to forge alliance with caste based politics. But their Prime Ministerial candidate clearly has emerged as front runner. He is perceived as potential leader by majority owing to his proven track of governance and firm leadership.

Many Indian industrialists, businessmen, various investment agencies in India and overseas are buoyant with poll prediction, hinting more business friendly and decisive government lead by BJP in the centre will revive mood of investment in India, attract more foreign direct investment, create more opportunities and put economy in growth path.

Now the question lies in front of electorates whom should we (Indian) vote for? Should we take risk and vote for AAP and ensure that we will have mechanism to scrutinize and be able to throw corrupt and inefficient leaders, including Kejriwal himself? Or should we vote for BJP and elect Modi as decisive leader with clear majority to ensure that we have a firm government?

With given liabilities of existing issues, BJP has emerged as promising party which can face the challenges and leverage the strengths of today’s India. It may look like a compromised option but sometimes surgery, with associated pains of continuing with current political leaders and system, is better than time consuming medicinal treatment.

The country has entered in to polling phase, above pertinent question must be going through the minds of many Indians, keeping the national interest, good governance ahead of loyalty and rhetoric.

Mousumi Roy
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Mousumi Roy has a Masters (MA - Political Science) from Calcutta University and is a visiting professor of International Relations in Muscat, Oman

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